Excitement in Space 1956…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s featured vegetable is the escaped Christmas Brussels sprout crouching out of sight behind the toaster on the kitchen worktop.
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‘Yes, I do actually have a biography of blues singer Tommy Johnson on my bookshelves, I’ll let you have a look at it… Now, where is it?… Good god! What’s this?… How long has that been there?… I’d completely forgotten I had this…’

Yes, it’s another of those old junk shop books I bought some time ago, I obviously just stuck it on a shelf and forgot all about it…
The Lion must have been one of those weekly comics for kids (or rather for boys, the comics for girls would have had ponies with nice shiny manes and jolly prancing netball teams on the cover) back in the 1950s. This book version of the comic was the annual publication brought out for the Christmas present market. I was going to show you just the front cover, but on looking at the back I decided that it looked so good I should include it in the photo too.
Isn’t it great! 1956!… This is how chaps in space will look in the future!
But isn’t it surprisingly accurate? Apart from the sky being blue rather than jet black the rest of it is pretty good; those space suits are quite close to the way they look today – they even have those flexible joints at the knees and elbows, and the helmets don’t look too bad either.
Look there, hovering in the azure void behind our plucky weightless chaps, a spaceship – doesn’t it look like one of those early Soviet ones? They had spherical parts just like that – what were they called? Ah yes, the Vostok ones – and what’s that, sliding its way in onto the back cover? That looks remarkably like the great rotating space station in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Very impressive! I hope you have enjoyed the cover dear reader – I am planning, in future posts, to share with you a few items from inside the book – some of it is toe-curlingly 1950s, and most of the characters are rather posh ‘public school’ types, there are no women at all, and the tales and drawings are, shall we say, not without racial stereotyping… So watch out!…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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17 Responses to Excitement in Space 1956…

  1. One of my authors used a similar design for a book last year: Escape from B Movie Hell.

    Anyway. Did you know sprouts contain protein and 20% of the recommended daily potassium intake? Thought not.

  2. Dana Doran says:

    hum…..brings to mind that quantum physics double slit experiment….you know the one…..where it was proved that the future predicts the present. Except it appears than an artist conceived the idea of the future and scientists made it come true…

  3. Jheron Bash says:

    Ah, 1956 – I remember it well, wee boy that I was. Mind you, I was always more of a Dandy, Beano & Bash Street Kids (the clue’s in the name) follower. Space was for posh kids. A very good 2017 to you and all your readers!

  4. Shammy says:

    I don’t remember the Lion Annual (probably cos I’m a girl) but I love Beano, Dandy, Topper, in fact have 2 Beano’s right here….

  5. Jheron Bash says:

    Beano, Dandy, Topper, Eagle were all great ~ in fact comics were great (books – Pah!), but when it comes to No 1 on the Christmas list, let’s not forget the Rupert Bear Annual!!

  6. Shammy says:

    1956 Lion Annual for sale via internet for 23 pounds. http://www.chipmonk.org.uk/lion.htm

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